What was the greatest on-screen depiction of the Napoleonic era? That Hamilton Woman? All for Love? The Duellists? Gance's Napoleon? Waterloo? Bondarchuk's War and Peace? Master & Commander? Sharpe?
With so many to chose from Charley White, Kirsteen Mackenzie, Everette Rummage, Matt Bone, Tom Fournier, Josh Provan, and Marcus Cribb all join me to chat through a myriad of contenders, in an episode of truly epic proportions.
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Zack White starts the New Year with a cracking almost 4 hours podcast with a well discussed topic, greatest films of the Napoleonic Era - it is difficult to discuss a film when not having seen them, but in that case I think I saw all of those mentioned, with the exceptions I admit just watching two Sharps and no I am not a fan at all, they are so boring, boring, boring and - not at all 18th century it is modern humans stuffed into Napoleonic dress. But I cannot see that the series at all caught an air of the Napoleonic time, also the stories are so one dimensional and foreseeable, so Sharp, last place, entertianment - no - boredom.
I have a bit of difficulties with historical films, because they aren't historical films but drama playing in a historical time frame. And in that case I am not a rivet or button counter but I would like at least that this historical fiction catching the flavour of the time. And this is very difficult because nobody seems to bother to make actors act like 18th century people and look like them. For that reasons one of my heros is Stanly Kubrick - Barry Lindon, just ground braking, one of the actresses wasn't allowed 6 months before the shooting starts to take any sun bathes, or that they used candle lights, the only two films about the Boney period coming close is of course the duellist and the epic epic and real epic Abel Gance film - those actors look real, and not like soft shaped 20th century humans raised in wealth and not having to fight to just survive daily lifes and those two films are very entertaining as well, the drama in the duellist, showing the fear before a duel expressed - that was acting as its best and not the weak acting in the Sharp boredom. Also the same is as using location and landscape when in the duellist - the ending scene to glance over a valley were the river is flooding the landscape. And yes, for historical fiction I like to be entertained and feel the drama.
And for that - I am looking at other films, like Vidoque - or my choice
Les Mariés de l'An II
Avec Jean-Paul Belmondo et Marlène Jobert 1793, Nicolas Philibert, qui a fait fortune au Nouveau Monde après y avoir été exilé, revient en France pour divorcer. Il retrouve sa femme Charlotte dans le camp des royalistes où elle est aimée d'un marquis et courtisée par un prince. Après maintes péripéties, ils finissent par divorcer. Mais plus tard, aux côtés des soldats de l'An II qui défendent la République, ils s'aperçoivent qu'ils s'aiment encore.
Yes it is a commedy but with a lot of underlying history well caught or indicated.
There are lots of hillarious scenes, like when a lot of couples queue up to gain the benefits of the French Revolution - divorce, or when they feed first the swine from the grain ship from the US - because they did fear it was poisened, some quite good Republican songs, and for a swashbuckling film, very good costumes.
To come back to good war films, alltogether - and again Stanly Kubrick - Path to Glory but to one of the best - if not the best - The Thin Red Line, which unfortunately is overshadowed by Saving Soldier Ryan, but no way that the later comes even close to this epic film.
The Thin Red Line - Launching the attack
The Thin Red Line - Ending Scene
The company is able to retreat safely, and Witt is later buried by Welsh and his squadmates. C Company receives a new commander, Captain Bosche and boards a waiting LCT, departing from the island.
and unbelievalbe music
A list of 167 films about the Napoleonic Era complete with plots/ reviews:
Three of interest:
Karl Grune's Waterloo (1929) &
Jiří Weiss' Waterloo (1969)
Abel Gance's Bonaparte et la Revolution (1972)
Has anyone seen any of these films?
Ridley Scott's awfully titled "Kitbag" has been re-titled, wait for it, "Napoleon."
For those interested in Stanley Kubrick's planned film on Napoleon (which is discussed in Lewis' book above), in 2011 Taschen published 'Stanley Kubrick's Napoleon' by Alison Castle. This large (1100 page) tome is a compendium of research material Kubrick collected on the subject, script drafts, interviews with various authorities and a lot more odds and ends in typical Taschen style. It was originally published as a limited edition collectible in ten(!) small volumes stuffed inside a large fake book, but this version though unwieldy is a bit more user-friendly.
A book published in the last few weeks deals with the making of the film 'Waterloo': 'Waterloo: Making an Epic' by Simon Lewis. It covers the usual anecdotes about actors and extras, and the involvement of the Russian Army, but also has quite a bit about Bondarchuk and the making of 'War and Peace'. Unfortunately the images are all b&w, though some are candid/informal shots by the cast and crew.
Supposedly two divisions from the Russian front participated in the filming of Kolberg
Kolberg - very well entrenched in the political and military situation of 1945 - ein Volk steht auf der Sturm bricht los - very difficult to watch.
As it introduced me to the topic, Waterloo, of course https://m.imdb.com/title/tt4092814/
Gance's Napoleon is a masterpiece. Partucularly stirring are La Marseillaise scene, the scene with Napoleon in the deserted Assembly chamber and the ending sequence.
There is a 1930's Austrian film of Napoleon that is supposedly good but I haven't seen it.
Hans-Karl, what is your opinion of Kolberg (1945)?
I forgot how good the Abel Gance film is
and of course
watch the men at 1,17
Hollywood’s Waterloo | Apollo Magazine (apollo-magazine.com)
ok back to Napoleonics, give me a Sharp scene which is matching this
i have to add that one, sorry not napoleonics again